Science Award for Max Planck Director Elena Conti

Elena Conti, Director at the MPI of Biochemistry in Martinsried receives prestigious Aminoff Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Science.

June 22, 2022

The Gregori Aminoff Prize was awarded at the Royal Swedish Academy of Science's annual celebration. This year's awardees are RNA researchers Elena Conti, Patrick Cramer and Seth Darst. Conti, director and head of the research department "Structural Cell Biology" at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, together with her colleagues from the MPI for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen, Germany, and the Rockefeller University in New York, USA, studied the cellular systems for RNA synthesis and degradation, the two processes that together regulate the lifetime of RNA molecules. RNAs are key macromolecules that are found in all living organisms and in many viruses. Conti's work focuses on the quality control and degradation of RNA. She has studied how RNA is transformed from non-functional to functional molecules, and how, finally, they are broken down when they are no longer needed or when they are found to be defective. She has focused on the exosome, which performs several of these tasks. Her results have been highly influential and encouraged many other researchers to try new approaches.

About the awardee
Professor Elena Conti studied Chemistry at the University of Pavia in Italy. She received her PhD in Protein Crystallography at Imperial College, London, UK in 1997. After a Postdoctoral fellowship in John Kuriyan’s lab at The Rockefeller University, New York, USA, she was appointed Group leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1999. There she focused her research interest on mechanisms of RNA export to the cytoplasm and the structure and function of the molecular machines involved. Conti has followed the fate of RNA in the cytoplasm since then. She was appointed Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried near Munich, Germany in 2006 where she leads the department of “Structural Cell Biology”. Since 2007, she is Honorary Professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Conti received numerous awards, among others the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 2008 and the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 2014.

About the Gregori Aminoff Award
Since 1979, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Gregori Aminoff Prize. The prize, awarded annually, honors outstanding scientists for pioneering research achievements in the field of crystallography. The prize is named after the Swedish mineralogist and artist Gregori Aminoff ( 1883-1947). The prize, worth a total of 80,000 Swedish kronor, is awarded to the winners during the Academy's annual celebration in Stockholm.

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